Apartment Living / Craft Tutorials / Decorating / Life / Relocation

Easy Peasy Distressing Technique

finished and hung on the wall...the "D" and "H" are actually two different colors (navy and dark teal) and look more distinctly so in person

When we decided we were moving to Texas, I knew that I wanted to change up my home decor a little bit; I loved the style and color scheme we had at our house in Alaska, but decided something new was in order. Our little log house there was charming, and also somewhat difficult to decorate and keep from looking too Alaskan or manly, but what I did with it worked perfectly. Our realtor suggested I go into interior decorating on the side because it was so well-decorated, especially for the challenging style of the home, so it must have looked pretty darn good if I do say so myself!

I have often looked forward to the day we would live somewhere with sheet rock where my color palette would be limitless and now we do! Upon making all of our arrangements to move, we knew we would rent for awhile before buying another house. That way we would have time to get a little more established, settle on an area and have some time to really pick and choose the kind of house and neighborhood we want.

So apartment living is our lot in life for the time being and, call us crazy if you want, but it’s really fun! I know, I know, you’re probably wondering how in the world we could go from owning our own house to enjoying apartment life. Yes, sometimes the people above us tread a tad too heavily and there are people all around, but apartments here in Texas are not your run-of-the-mill apartment complexes you find in the area we came from.

The first 5 weeks we were here in the DFW metroplex we lived in a furnished apartment in Las Colinas which is a bustling area of young professionals, young families and it was close to Nathan’s school. We decided a furnished apartment on a very short lease would be best for the duration of his schooling.

We have been in our permanent (for now!) apartment with our own furniture and decorations for a week today and it’s starting to feel more like home. I still have a LOT of work to do decorating, doing projects and making decisions about details, but all the work of making it a home is the fun part.

I did my first project in our new place yesterday and I am LOVING the finished product! Judah’s room in Alaska was a zoo theme with a black and cream color scheme, which I loved. I hate cartoony, mainstream, blah nurseries and kid’s rooms, so that’s why I chose the sophisticated colors in lieu of ordinary primary colors that you see in so many children’s rooms. Even though I loved his room there, I’m changing EVERYTHING here in Texas, so I finally chose some colors I can commit to for his decor that will also be fun, but not so traditional. I’m pretty sure I’m sticking with the zoo theme, but that’s still to be decided, so don’t quote me on that!

Our son’s entire name was not chosen just because we like it. Judah Raiffe Owen. It was chosen because it has a lot of meaning, some very strong spiritual and prophetic significance:

Judah: “praise”, began as one individual and grew into one of the 12 tribes of Israel, then the Southern Kingdom, charged to stand upon the mountain of blessing, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, important lineage into the House of David and on to Jesus, etc.

Raiffe: “God has healed”

Owen: “well-born”, my dad and granddad’s first names

So, I wanted to at least use his first name in his room somewhere because it carries so much weight.

One theme I’m carrying throughout every room in the apartment is vintage style. I bought the letter’s of Judah’s name in different sizes and fonts and decided to distress them, something I haven’t done much of besides light distressing. But for these letters I wanted a heavy chipped paint look so they really had some character. This is the tutorial for an incredibly simple and effective way to distress almost anything. I got the ideas from other tutorials, but all that I saw recommended spray paint and said that they didn’t know how painting over the Vaseline with a brush would work, so this was kind of an experiment, but worked beautifully! Yay!


Wood letters (or furniture, frames, anything you want distressed!)

Acrylic paint in at least two colors (one for the underneath color to show through the distressed places and at least one to paint over the top)



Medium Grit Sandpaper

Old rag

Polyurethane Satin Finish


vintage white base color

1. Paint letters the color you want to show through after it’s been distressed. One coat is sufficient. Allow to dry a couple of hours. I chose vintage white, a sort of creamy off-white hue.

2. Take Vaseline and rub over the first coat of paint just in places where you want the distressing to really show. Don’t skimp, but you really don’t need to glob it on, either.

3. Take your contrasting color of paint and paint the entire letters like normal, even over the Vaseline. Allow to dry a couple of hours.

4. Paint another coat of the same contrasting color. Allow to dry a couple of hours.

5. Take your sandpaper and go over the entire piece. The paint will start peeling off where you rubbed the Vaseline. Don’t be afraid to really use the sandpaper on the paint until you get the exact amount of distressing you want. Step away a few times to make sure you don’t overdo it, though.

6. When you’ve reached the right amount of distressing for the effect you desire, take a wet old rag and wipe each piece well, removing all paint dust and chips.

7. Paint a clear coat of polyurethane to seal your distressing and allow to dry well.

Voila! Congratulations, now you’re hooked on distressing, aren’t you? :)


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